The new Manics album - Know Your Enemy - is out on Monday. Is it worth the wait? Sarah Welsh lends an ear.
This Monday the Manics' new design for life hits the shops with the launch of their much anticipated sixth album Know Your Enemy.
The 16-track record has taken just over a year to complete and has been critically acclaimed as truly taking the Blackwood boys back to their roots.
Described as having a looser, rougher edge than the more commercial Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours, the band say it grew from the "original inspiration" which helped them create albums like 1991's Generation Terrorists.
One of the four producers credited on the album who helped the band on their journey back to the beginning is Cardiff-based Greg Haver, who owns Cathays recording studio Big Noise with his partner Ceri Collier.
Greg, 39, has worked with big names including Catatonia and the Super Furry Animals as well as the Manics, who he has been good friends with since starting working with them five years ago.
He worked on two tracks on the album - Royal Correspondent and Freedom Of Speech Won't Feed My Children - and says the whole experience was a joy from start to finish.
"I have done lots of engineering before including This Is My truth, but this is my first major production credit," he told the Echo. "I'm with really illustrious company on the record - it's great for me to see my name, but also to work with other such big A-list producers."
Greg says making the album was fairly fast-paced with lots of people collaborating on it.
"The band started working on the album just after the Millennium Eve gig," he said. "It is a brilliant piece of work and the boys really enjoyed themselves making the record."
"There is a quite broad range of tracks on the album and it covers a lot of bases- there is something for everyone there."
"There's a mixture of the harder punky sounds the Manics are best known for, along with more melodic offerings like Let Robeson Sing."
"They just kept recording songs for the album - at least 25 tracks, although only 16 made it on the final record."
"My favourite is Let Robeson Sing - although I suppose really I should say one of mine"
Greg - who has also just set up new independent record label Booby Trap Singles Club - calls himself the Manics' "local useful guy" in Wales.
"I have known the band for quite a few years now and gave done a lot of different work for them," he said. "They recorded parts of Everything Must Go and This Is My Truth at Big Noise and also choose to record a lot of their B Sides here."
Greg also records a lot of live stuff for the band, including most recently their history-making concert in Havana, Cuba, on February 17, when they first performed tracks from Know Your Enemy.
"The experience was amazing - absolutely fantastic," he said. "It was a nightmare to get out there though - the journey from Cardiff took 49 hours and I was stranded in Madrid for 24."
"I got there the night before the gig and the next day was frantic. It was complete bedlam with people running in all directions, but the gig itself was amazing."
"I stood outside recording it thinking 'I was in Cardiff two days ago - what am I doing here?'"
"They had an amazing reception even though the audience did not really know them. It was also the first time Nicky Wire has sung live in a gig, so it was a night of firsts."
But without a doubt, Greg says the best experience of working on the album was working with James Dean Bradfield.
"I love working with him," he said. "I really respect him for his beliefs and vision and working together is always really enjoyable as he's a mate more than anything."
"The tracks I worked on we did really quickly. We experimented with drum machines and synthesizers and it just came together."
"James is also great for producers because he knows exactly what he wants - but the Manics themselves have always been really easy to work with."
"It always been really enjoyable and we've never come to blows."